Youth soccer, nikon 70-300 vr or 70-200 f/2.8 vr?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by william_carnahan, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Hello Friends, Second year of shooting high school soccer coming up; Nikon D200 with a 70-300vr, daytime, from the sidelines. Had somewhat good results even though I'm fairly new to digital. Wanting to improve the image quality. To those of you who may have used both lenses, will going to the 70-200 (version I) and the loss of reach, still be an improvement? I'm tending to lean towards the 70-200 to allow faster shutter speeds, hand held, since even a monopod would slow me down abit, even with the loss of some reach. Your thoughts - thanks, Bill
  2. I have the 70-300 VR and the current Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 (which is not VR). In good light, the 70-300mm VR will have two advantages over its 200mm max f/2.8 brethren for hand-held shooting: much better reach and significantly lighter weight. If you're going to be holding the camera up for long periods, at eye level or close, waiting for a good image, the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR will become unbearably heavy. You haven't mentioned what camera you're using, but you should be able to use a high enough ISO that adequate shutter speeds shouldn't be a problem.
  3. Bill -
    70-200 is considered by many to be the dream zoom - especially on a crop body. It is nice for getting closer shots, plus has nice range and excellent Bokeah for blurring the backgrounds.
    70-300 is an okay lens - it doesn't (IMHO) autofocus as fast as it's big brother, nor does it give you the low light performance - although - daylight shooting shouldn't be an issue with it.
  4. I've been shooting club soccer with a 70-300VR and while it's fine in good light but when the conditions get overcast or it's late or early in the day I don't care for the images. I've also found that (1) if I get past about 225mm, the IQ suffers (my favorite size print is 11x14) and (2) if I don't stop down to f8 and smaller, the IQ also suffers.
    I should add that I've given up on variable aperture lenses -- what they give in low prices and lighter weights isn't, to me, worth it anymore. I've gone to primes and have ordered one of the new 70200 f2.8 VR II's.
  5. I agree with Bill's inference, to get the 70-200. Hands down, the better quality lens. Just look at the price difference! For late afternoon and rainy day games you'll be glad you have it.
    constant aperture; nice, short DOF; get either the VR I, or the brand new VRII (for alot more $$). speaking of primes, I bought a used 300 f4 at KEH and WOW, is it sharp. I been using a Sigma 70-200 2.8 for past few yrs, and now for sale as I'm movin' up to one of the Nikon versions. Using a D300 and a D300S bodies.
    Yeh, you'll loose range - but move your butt up and down the field!!! that's what was done before zooms were available, ya know! Crop with your feet! Still. the 70-200 2.8 is a major part of most all pro's collection. You can always put a 1.7x teleconverter on for awhile during the games for more longer shots. Monopod recommended IMHO though. I use one when shooting with the 300.
    Keep shootin'
    Love to know what you get and the resulting excitement - assuming you get the 70-200 - after seeing your images!
  6. Hey - anyone seen a review of the 70-200 VR II yet? I've been looking but....
    Steve (shoppix)
  7. "Wanting to improve the image quality. " In what way?
    I have both and each have slight advantages/disadvantages to each other. But when it comes to IQ, especially in good light, you won't see a difference.
    When I shoot outdoors in good light, I always choose the 70-300mm VR. It is lighter in weight and has the extra reach. And because of its aperture, it has a wider DOF so you have a better chance of getting your action shots in focus if your camera 'misses' focus.
  8. "Hey - anyone seen a review of the 70-200 VR II yet? I've been looking but....
    Steve (shoppix)"
    DPreview have one up.
  9. My vote goes squarely with the 70-200VR. In previous years I have used a variety of consumer grade lenses with the best being the 55-200VR. During last season I swapped to a 70-200VR and it's like night and day the improvement in image quality, focus speed, and colour depth is stunning particularly in low light situations.
    I take the attitude that I can't cover the whole field from one spot regardless of what lens I have so I no longer try. I generally stay near the attacking corner and wait for action to come near me.
    During this summer (southern hemisphere) I have been using the 70-200VR with a Kenko 1.4xTC for Cricket with great results but I'm not so sure it will work as well for fast moving sports like Soccer.
    IMO you spend your money once with a 70-200VR if you can afford it buy it now. If you can afford it and you don't buy it you eventually will anyway.
  10. I disagree with Richard. While there are many advantages to the 70-200mm over consumer lenses (with regard to AF speed, low light ability), IQ in good light is not one of them. I tested the 55-200mm vs the 70-200mm - you can see the results for yourself here:
    Click on 'Show Details' to see the various focal lengths I shot at. (The brightness changed a bit from picture to picture as I shot near dawn and the sun was rising pretty fast.)
    The 70-300mm VR is every bit as sharp as the 70-200mm and gives excellent everything when it comes to IQ in good light. As the OP is shooting outdoors in good light, the 70-200mm's low light advantages are of little use.
    "70-200VR with a Kenko 1.4xTC" Nikon's 55-200mm or 70-300mm VR will easily beat out this combo when it comes to IQ and color.
  11. Elliott, I think you should have Nikon check out your 70-200 if really do not find it better.
    Also, a constant aperture is a major benefit over the 55-200 and the 70-300. Hands down. Ask any Pro!
  12. Remember that shooting at 'various' focal lengths chaqnges the aperture on consumer lens. Not a good test.
  13. Steve, you may be confusing price with sharpness. Price has nothing to do with sharpness. The $125 50mm f1.8 lens is a 'prime' example of this. And while a constant aperture lens is a major benefit, in good light and when referring to IQ only, it offers little or no advantage (when compared to the 70-300mm VR).
    It is a fact that when it comes to IQ (and IQ only), many of Nikon's consumer lenses are just as sharp as their pro counterparts. The 70-300mm VR happens to be a very sharp lens.
    William's problem has likely more to do with his technique and not his equipment.
  14. I've shot quite a bit with the 70-300 VR and like the lens a great deal, but it's a fair weather friend for a sports photographer. If the weather gives you sunlight, you'll be happy. But as Bill said, when the light gets low, you'll find slow autofocus and either high ISO or slow shutter speeds with blur. Get the 70-200/2.8 VR, for your purposes I would think of it as an expensive no-brainer.
  15. Thanks friends for your great input. Sure enough, yesterday's first game was under dark cloudy skies, so I was pushing the limits of the 70-300. Here in Utah, even had a few games last year played in spring falling snow! So I will try the faster glass even if it means a loss of reach. Since I was able to roam the sidelines, I know most of my better shots last year were of the "breakaway" action near the field sides or ends, rather than of the gagle of boys in the center of the field; thus for me, 70-200 should work fine. Thanks again, Bill
  16. Elliot, what evidence do you have that the 70-300 is every bit as sharp as the 70-200? At f5.6 that would mean the 70-300 is wide open while the 70-200 is closed down 2 stops - and you still think it'd be as sharp? You may know better than me as I don't have either, but I find that hard to believe.
  17. You said that you'd like to get a faster shutter speed. In good daylight with the 70-300VR you should be able to get at least 1/500 - 1/1000 at F8 or F11 and at ISO 200 to boot. The 70-300 gives you better reach for sports like soccer or football than you'd get with the 70-200. Just a note to Steve; the 70-300 VR is incredibly sharp at all apertures and probably at it's best at F8 & F11 which would be perfectly in order for what William outlines as his needs.

Share This Page